Home Government Officials: Demolishing Abandoned Homes in Brick Will Come at a High Price

Officials: Demolishing Abandoned Homes in Brick Will Come at a High Price

A home on South Beverly Drive in Brick, exposed to the elements. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
A home on South Beverly Drive in Brick, exposed to the elements. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

No one wants to live next door to an abandoned, derelict building, yet that is what some Brick residents face day-in and day-out.

“There are mold spores blowing out the roof,” Mark Jenks, who lives next door one such property in the Beverly Beach neighborhood, told Shorebeat last year. “The roof has been falling apart since the hurricane. We live next door to this, we can smell the mold spores.”

Eleven months after the property next door to Jenks was ordered to be demolished by the township’s property maintenance board, it’s still standing and, Jenks said recently, in its worst condition yet after what has become seven years of abandonment. Holes in the roof have gotten larger, the mold is worse and animals still traipse in and out.


The Brick Township council, on Monday night, rejected a contractor’s bid that would have demolished the home. The reason for the rejection: the price is simply too high.

“That bid alone, the lowest bid, was $119,000,” said Mayor John Ducey.

A home on South Beverly Drive in Brick, exposed to the elements. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
A home on South Beverly Drive in Brick, exposed to the elements. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

In its capital budget, Brick allocated just $40,000 to be used for property demolitions, which they expected would have funded three or four properties.

State regulations are to blame for the higher-than-average demolition cost, officials said – notably, the state’s prevailing wage law, which requires public projects to pay union-level wages whether the contractor is a union firm or not, as well as onerous regulations on asbestos abatement that do not apply to private demolitions.

The prices caught Brick – and, presumably, other New Jersey towns that have utilized legislation allowing for the creation of property maintenance boards to order abandoned buildings be razed – by surprise. The solution, however, may come in the form of a state program that will allow towns to borrow up to $300,000 per year for the demolition of abandoned structures. Another tool in the towns’ arsenals may be exerting additional pressure on banks that own properties to demolish buildings themselves or face six-figure liens before they are resold.

“Our strategy is to use this when negotiating with the banks,” said Business Administrator Joanne Bergin. “It gives us a little more teeth to go to the bank and say, ‘Do you really want to take $119,000 off the table?'”

Because banks would not have to adhere to the prevailing wage law and environmental regulations, the cost of demolition would likely be cut in more than half, officials estimate. In the mean time, Bergin said Brick is applying for the state loan program and will request a zero-interest loan payable over 10 years.

“This program will help us move along in doing what we need to do to help us clean up our town,” Ducey said.

Numerous properties have been slated for demolition by the Property Maintenance Board. After the board orders a demolition, it must be ratified by the township council and then placed out to bid. So far, no properties have been demolished under Brick’s program.

  • Mark Story Jenks

    What about imminent domain? I live in the same house I grew up in. Our property was separated from this undersized, wooded lot by a gravel driveway. We all assumed that driveway, leading to the river and our community beach, was part of the community beach property. A guy bought that undersized lot in the late 80’s. He had a relative who had a high ranking position with the township at the time, (who I think is now in jail) and they decided that that gravel driveway was a dead-end portion of Beverly Blvd. He had the town “vacate” that portion of Beverly Blvd, giving him the extra 20′ he needed for a buildable lot. My father was livid, being an adjoining property owner he felt he was never adequately notified. This happened before we knew what was happening, and everyone in the neighborhood was against it. But it was too late, a done deal.
    Then that guy sat on it for ten years, and then sold the lot for a nice profit. Then this house was built. In less then 10 years, the house was vacant and falling apart.
    It would be nice if the township could just take it back, and return it to a natural condition, considering the circumstances of how it became a buildable lot in the first place.
    It would make a nice little mini-park, with benches and a sitting area for people to enjoy the view of the river. And the township already lays claim to the 10′ paved easement that leads right to the waters edge.
    Our neighborhood property owners association already owns and pays taxes on a small beach that sits below this cursed property.
    No one wants this house and property, it is cursed. Why can’t the town just take it back, and return it to its previous condition? Some Bayberry bushes and dune grass, and everyone will be happy. I know of no other township property on the Manasquan River, where people can just go sit and enjoy the view.

    • Chris Cos

      Sadly, Mr. Jenks, because it doesn’t make money. And it costs money for the town to maintain bayberry bushes. I sympathize with you, and wish you well in your continued fight with the town.

  • Chris Cos

    I have an idea. How about we got to John Morris and tell him if he wants to build his useless strip mall on 88, he also has to pay for one house cleanup in the town? Or any other people who are looking into making “new development”? You build one new home, you foot the bill to renovate/rescue/raze an abandoned home in the township?

  • Bernie Neuhaus

    I’m confused. I’m in the demolition and excavating business and there is absolutely NOWAY it can cost anywhere near $119,000 to knock down one house. I’ve unfortunately demo’d numerous homes since the storm and my most expensive was under $20,000 and that was a 3000sqft home that also needed some asbestos remediation.

    • J W

      Well, perhaps you shouldd bid on these projects then. The process is open, but sealed as far as the bidding goes to my knowledge. It wouldn’t surprise me if contractors have a separate ‘citizen’ and ‘government’ rate.

  • jo jo ormaz

    one word – Indictment,,, Who’s scamming who MAYOR !! once that check is cut to the bidder will come a sleuth of questions ! – ask anyone who’s had their homes torn down from Hurricane Sandy – especially homeowners in Brick – the average cost was $15,000.00 to tear down a 5000 square foot home !!!!!! ”TEAM BRICK- aka Duecy Team” – your way over the top – $119,000 who pockets are getting filled up here – is this all part of future funding for the Mayors race 2017 ?? [ sorry – we loved you up until this moment – this is the straw that broke the back of many ] Between raising taxes in the town, over charging, allowing a church be passed on a main road way with bussing approval – Board of Education raising taxes it’s a run away greed !! And your going to make the Tax Payors pay for it! How dare you !!!!!!!!
    Keep it up – you will have every crack head and drug dealer living in Brick before you know it .. people are selling off their homes or turning them into rentals faster than you can ever imagine ! someone just said it not too long ago about all of the homes up for sale and Foreclosures in BRICK,, to add- It’s obvious that the rumors are “TRUE” – the “TEAM” wants to get the minimum property on a home in Brick at $10,000.00 a year !!!!!
    So, if you own a small little ranch style home in Brick – and was paying $6,000 a year in taxes LOOK OUT – they want to raise it to $10,000.00 – 12,000.00 a year !! who do you think is going to pay that …..??
    Here’s a hint… ! “LAKEWOOD investors” – they will buy up that home and turn it into a rental home !! [ take a good look at Lake Rivera – more rentals moving in – previous homeowner Moving OUT ! ] ] chasing out the good; by replacing it with the bad ..
    What have you done to LOWER TAXES in BRICK !! – YOU KEEP RAISING IT !!!!! keep dreaming – Wegmans, Trader Joes or Whole FOOD is not coming ! it’s this run away foolishness is causing much more damage than good to the – “What’s left ” of the people in BRICK !!!!!!!!

    The TEAM – should be focused on keeping people in Brick – than Leaving BRICK !!!!!!!!!!
    BY the Way – “TEAM ” – good job about burring the story about the kids who gotten beaten up at the park just the other day…. several kids fighting – someone went to the hospital !! yup that’s our BRICK !! congratulations !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • J W

      Nobody’s leaving Brick over the rather modest tax rate. People like you are cheapskates that would groan about any taxes no matter what.

      • Frank Rizzo

        The mental paitient weighs in…no respect for anyone’s position or thought…more name calling and knows it attitude….anti social bi polar nut bag

      • J W

        The man with no respect for anyone except white men has a problem with me calling him for what he is- a nasty old piece of racist trash. I’ll respect your position when you have something to say that isn’t misanthropic, dripping with racist hate and contempt for those less fortunate for you. There is a special place in hell dedicated for people like you Frank, and it’s pretty cold going by the authority that is Dante Alighieri.

      • jo jo ormaz

        Hey “Buck-wheat “- can you read this – 1,274 Brick, NJ Homes For Sale & Real Estate – That’s normal to you !! And – another 556 Brick, NJ Foreclosures – Golly Gee – willikers Batman – that must be a normal sign in every town….up and down the coast …!
        Maybe Shorebeat will do a five year study on this or take a poll – next.”
        perhaps when a nice family moves out next door and a family of dead beat renters move in, maybe then you’ll get it..”

        “Bhamm and Whamm” numbers don’t lie – sonny….”

      • J W

        You don’t know much about the real estate market at all if you’re
        looking at Trulia anyway. At least 3 of those listings are near me and
        aren’t actually houses, but small lots which are not buildable! More due dilligence and you will discover that a large fraction of those listings are exactly that. There are at least 80,000 who live in this town. Those numbers aren’t unreasonable at all actually, especially now given that real estate prices are high and there is a fairly large supply of houses on the market nationwide.

    • I won’t comment on most of that, but as for whose pockets are getting filled on the demolition project – the answer is nobody’s, since they rejected the bid.

      • Chief Wahoo

        that is UNTIL they borrow $300,000 and put the taxpayers on the hook for MORE DEBT !!!!


    • Mark Story Jenks

      This is no fault of our current mayor! Get a grip, man!
      This mess was started when a previous administration vacated a dead-end road.
      Then, a homeowner got over his head when the real estate market crashed.
      And Hurricane Sandy tearing a good portion of the roof off after the house was already vacant didn’t help.

  • Glenn

    Pressure the bank to tear it down. Start fining them for the health hazard. The town can’t afford, and shouldn’t, spend the money because of prevailing wage laws.
    Anything the state or towns put out to bid has to be priced at prevailing (Union) wages whether the contractor is unionized or not.
    Many states are “right to work” states and do not have prevailing wage laws. New Jersey is not one. Politics, politics, politics!

  • Frank Rizzo

    Have the DPW do it….get an excavator from the military for free and do it in-house. Should not be more than 15k for a contractor to do this anyway. Knock as many homes down…lower our class size and special ed burden…prevent investors and raise values all around

  • Chief Wahoo

    There are so many hilarious conundrums in this story that its too many to even list. But if this doesn’t prove government is useless nothing will wake the sheep up from their slumber. Bottom line , if government is involved , it going to cost the taxpayers a whole bunch of HARRIET TUBMANS !!!!


  • SoWhat?

    Let the fire department use it as a controlled burn training for home fires.

  • stephen

    I knew the bids would be high and not because of taking down the home. the real cost is in the final grading of the property which probably entails at least 300 yards or more of fill.

  • KaayC

    Tempted to say have the firefighters there and light a match. I heard years ago the only way to kill the mold this bad is to burn. We have one of these bank owned homes nearby for approximately ten years. Every year have to call code enforcement to get on the bank to have the grass cut. Since Sandy this house is disintegrating. The mold in this town could choke a horse. Just back from Florida, then DC. As soon as I get to Brick I am back on inhalers from the mold and rotted firewood. Too many problems here. The roads a mess, the houses a mess – Ugh!

  • jo jo ormaz

    Hey check this out !!
    Just begin to Google – Home Demolition cost in NJ:

    Typical costs: Complete demolition by heavy equipment down to (but not including) the foundation/basement of an average house with complete debris haul-away varies considerably; in the Midwest or other low-cost areas, it can be as low as $3,000-$8,000 for a small home (800-1,500 square feet) with easy access for heavy machinery, but can easily run $7,000-$15,000 or more elsewhere, depending on size, materials, access and other factors.

    A down-to-the-dirt professional demolition (including removing the foundation/basement) using heavy machinery and hauling away all debris can be $10,000-$25,000 or more, depending on size, materials, configuration (one- or two-story), local rates and access. A New Jersey realtor[1] reports receiving bids ranging from $12,000-$25,000 to completely tear-down and remove an 1,800-square-foot waterfront home. Prices generally (but not always) include permit fees and debris removal costs. Total costs will increase if there’s lead paint or asbestos removal.

    Deconstruction is the orderly dismantling of a structure so the materials can be reused in another project or recycled into new products. TheReusePeople.org[3] , a nonprofit California deconstruction company, estimates that removing a 2,200-square-foot home might cost $10,000 with standard demolition methods and $24,000 with deconstruction, but could produce a tax savings of $29,000. The Sierra Club provides an overview[4] .Related articles: Debris Removal, Dumpster, Foundation Demolition, Concrete Removal, Asphalt Removal

    What should be included: Typically a representative of each company will visit the site before submitting a bid; this is the time to mention any possible problems with asbestos, lead paint; heavy equipment access, underground utilities or a septic system, or other concerns. Be specific about any plans for the site (they need to know if you’re going to rebuild) and the condition you want the property in when the demolition work is completed.

    In most cases you will need a demolition permit, and utility companies must be notified before any gas, water and electrical lines are turned off and ripped out. (Most demolition companies will handle this for you, but be sure it’s included in the quote.) BobVila.com describes the typical permit and planning[5] process.

    Full home demolition typically involves heavy machinery. An average home can be demolished in a day or two.

    Additional costs: Often any required permits are included in the demolition price, but if not it can be anywhere from $25-$100 depending on the size of the house, to several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on local rules. Some areas, such as several towns near Chicago[6] , have imposed demolition taxes/fees for complete house tear-downs of as much as $10,000.

    So mayor and The “TEAM” – how is it costing the TAX payor -$119,000.00 again..?
    What happened to that “agreement speech in public you gave – how you advised that those cost would go to the buyer of the land?”

    Here’s a link to read ……